On behalf of the Canadian Persistent Identifier Advisory Committee (CPIDAC), CRKN is delighted to announce the findings of our community consultation on the future of Persistent Identifiers (PIDs) in Canada. The goal of this initial consultation was to determine our starting point and identify the elements needed to enable the development and implementation of a Canadian National PID Strategy.
We are excited to share the results of this first step and provide information about what is to come. The findings of this project are clear: Canada is ready for a national PID strategy. Though there are many challenges ahead, there is momentum, and the foundational elements to support the development of a holistic and innovative Canadian PID strategy are secure.
New to PIDs? Click here for a PID Primer!
The report confirms that, after five years of community and capacity building, the Canadian PID program is ready for growth that will enable the implementation of PIDs across Canadian systems and institutions, to increase the persistent findability and connectivity of Canadian researchers and research outputs. Persistence is not, however, inherent; persistence requires significant collaboration across sectors and institutions
Your input as part of the Canadian research community is crucial to the success of this initiative If you are interested in learning more or taking part in the next phase of national PID Strategy implementation, please follow this link to a short and preliminary survey.
What we did
In 2021, on behalf of the Canadian Persistent Identifier Advisory Committee (CPIDAC), CRKN consulted with MoreBrains Cooperative, international experts in PIDs and PID Strategy development, to assess the situation of PIDs in Canada and to provide a snapshot of our starting point as we embark on developing a national strategy. MoreBrains outlined a foundation-laying approach and identified information gaps to fill before a complete PID strategy could be laid out. Participants included university leadership, researchers, professional associations, federal and provincial funders, technical experts, and more. This work involved:
- desk research about the PID landscape in Canada;
- six one-on-one interviews to identify needs, priorities, and stakeholders for PIDs in Canada;
- three larger workshops on PID Strategy Implementation, and Challenges & Opportunities;
- a final presentation to the CPIDAC and the National Data Services Framework Summit 2022;
- a final report to the CPIDAC.
What we found
Based on community consultation, the MoreBrains team presented a set of recommendations to enable the development and implementation of a National PID Strategy. These recommendations are included in the Report, which is available here. Many of these recommendations are well underway, confirming that our overall approach is aligned with international partners and other jurisdictions. Our next step will be to assess which PIDs can resolve which problems in the Canadian research ecosystem
In their report, the MoreBrains team also identified challenges and priorities for the future, including building trust and enhancing communication between stakeholder groups, improving and connecting fragmented infrastructure across Canadian institutions such as universities and funders, highlighting the urgency to the broader community, and telling a compelling story about the value of PIDs.
A community of dedicated PID experts and enthusiasts already exists, so the most important elements of these recommendations will be to expand that community, identify a set of priority use cases for PIDs in Canada, and show how PIDs can resolve challenges and leverage opportunities for research nationally.
Developing a strategy for PID adoption and implementation is a journey. In the report, MoreBrains identified the starting point, mapped the gaps in coverage or awareness of PIDs and the critical areas where, for example, PIDs could help to improve research effectiveness or simplify bureaucracy, and identified stakeholders who must be consulted and interventions for the next steps of the journey.
This snapshot of the Canadian PID landscape confirmed for the CPIDAC that Canada is ready to embark on the creation of a national PID strategy. As a next step, the CPIDAC will continue to work with MoreBrains to develop this national strategy. These efforts are funded by the Digital Research Alliance of Canada, with whom CRKN partners to support the two national PID consortia, ORCID Canada and DataCite Canada. We anticipate that over the next few months, we will update, develop, and validate:
- a (living) list of challenges;
- a set of recommendations on how PIDs can solve these challenges;
- accessible primers on PIDs and their value proposition for communication;
- models for PID-optimized workflows;
- evidence of return on investment.
The destination for this journey is a comprehensive, efficient level of PID coverage and adoption in support of community goals for Canadian research and innovation. Phase II and beyond will establish clear goals for the PID strategy and design the process for delivering those goals.
We look forward to working together to ensure that Canadian PID Strategy development and implementation is a success! More information will be shared throughout the project.
|What is a Persistent Identifier?
Research generates a huge amount of information about people, places, and things (like publications or datasets) across siloed software systems, including institutional, regional, or national grant application systems and repositories.
A PID is a long-lasting unique digital code that points to those entities (i.e., people, places, or things) in the research ecosystem. Without PIDs, each entity can be confused with others, like people who share a name. Unlike URLs, which may break, PIDs reliably point to a digital entity across borders, disciplines, time, and systems. PIDs support Canadian institutions in meeting the goals of open science, including the FAIR Principles, which are explicit about the use of PIDs. Most entities are not currently connected or interoperable, meaning they are not easily findable or connected to associated entities. Scholars and staff waste time entering and re-entering (and disambiguating) the same information in different systems that lack interoperability when researchers would rather focus on research.
|Why do PIDs matter?
PIDs reliably and predictably disambiguate entities, leading to cost efficiencies and greater discovery by:
|PIDs in Canada
CRKN supports two member driven PID consortia:
CRKN is the administrative lead for ORCID-CA, partnering with the Alliance to jointly manage DCAN. Membership in both consortia consists of Canadian universities, government departments, research centres, journal publishers, and more. ORCID-CA has 43 members and DCAN has 59 members as of September 2022. Momentum for PIDs development in Canada has recently been driven by the work of the Canadian Persistent Identifier Advisory Committee (CPIDAC), composed of a broad range of Canadian stakeholders including funders, universities, government, infrastructure organizations, and library consortia. The CPIDAC, supported by CRKN and the Alliance, acts in the interests of the Canadian scholarly community to provide expertise and advice to the ORCID-CA and DCAN governing committees on leveraging maximum benefits through national adoption and use of PIDs.
|Why do we need a National PID Strategy?
Persistence is not inherent without the collaborative work of organizations that maintain PIDs, which require support from the broader research community. Community-driven PIDs managed by global not-for-profits in partnership with local stakeholders ensure that PIDs and the systems that rely on them remain open, non-proprietary, sustainable, and responsive to research community needs. National funding for existing PID initiatives in Canada (like the ORCID-CA and DataCite Canada Consortia), and funds to develop other infrastructure and a national strategy for PIDs, will ensure appropriate stewardship of Canadian research. A national approach to PIDs ensures broad Canadian availability of these services, at each institution, which maximizes benefit and encourages adoption and innovation. The value of PIDs can only be realized when a sustainable support system drives the adoption and use of PIDs. Other countries, like the UK and Australia, have already begun to develop National PID Strategies; Canada must too.